This chapter calls for critical reflection on the onto-political relations between mathematics, technics, and cultures in the context of the ecological and technological crises of modern Western civilization. The relations between a culture’s mathematic, technical practices, and metaphysical worldview are intertwined elements within different civilizational complexes, comprising the geo-cosmo-politics of the modern world order. Reflected in the posthuman and post-anthropocentric turns in the sciences and humanities, a variety of alternative ontologies of existence are emerging. As an intellectual field, the posthuman ontological turn is a bifurcated shift in the fundamental concepts and assumptions underlying the modern knowledge disciplines. The ontological turn has unsettled Western metaphysical concepts of nature and culture, calling the relations between mathematics and nature into question within an emerging historical problematic identified as the technoecological condition. I am exploring ways of overcoming the singular world ontology of modernity with a pluriversal ontological politics of knowledge and education. Ontological diversity is dependent upon technodiversity, while technodiversity is dependent upon renewed cosmological relations between technics and cultures. Mathematical knowledge practices are centrally about intervening in environments as well as providing metaphysical grounds for establishing truth. The technoecological condition involves the replacement of subject centered sense making with the environmentalization of sense, i.e., smart cities, ubiquitous computing and global media. Grounded in the mathematic of Western modernity, the process of cybernetization has concretized in world-wide systems of technological mediation that operate within sensory and intelligent environments. Biodiversity and technodiversity are being lost in an expanding mono-cultural technological civilizational complex. Underlying the production and consumption of cybernetic technologies are particular kinds of mathematics (i.e., symbolic, experimental, technological, computational), participating in multiple fields of knowledge, embedded in cultural-historical events, processes, concepts and presuppositions about the world. This modern metaphysical paradigm shift involves a change in the ontological relations between mathematics and technology, reflected in the hybrid reformations of computational mathematics and STEM education, i.e., biotechnology, artificial intelligence. An historical ontology of cultures and mathematics brings matter and meaning together, focusing on the material/ideological relations between mathematics, technics, cultures, and environments. Cosmotechnics is proposed to the knowledge disciplines to balance the cosmological relations between cultures, technics, and natures. We can learn to live within the limits of the earth system. From this recognition of the cosmo-ontological relations between the modern Western mathematic and modern technology, does ethnomathematics contribute to a project of producing technodiversity in a world propelled towards technological singularity? A multiple ontologies perspective, associated with the ontological turns in anthropology, sociology, geography, decoloniality, and philosophy of technology and media, contributes towards a pluriversal project of overcoming technological modernity that is neither fascist, nationalist, nor technocapitalist.
Today, the human future is thrown into question by our technological capacities. The convergence of new technologies (for example, biotechnology, robotics, informatics, and nanotechnology) in projects of controlling life has radically reconfigured our sense of the human condition, both through technological capacities already at our disposal and through emergent imaginations of what human futures are possible, desirable, and good. We have begun to achieve unprecedented capacities to manipulate not only our external environment but the internal environments of our bodies as well. In light of these emerging and anticipated capacities, questions about human progress, redemption, or demise are increasingly asked in relation to imagined technological futures (Tirosh-Samuel & Hurlbut, 2016: 5).
Our time is thus one in which it is urgent that the West—or what remains of it—analyze its own becoming, turn back to examine its provenance and its trajectory, and question itself concerning the process of decomposition of sense to which it has given rise (Nancy, 2008: 30).
The question that remains to be answered is what will be the fate of these indigenous ontologies and practices when confronting modern technology, which is the realization of naturalism? Or are these “practices” able to transform modern technology so that the latter acquires a new direction of development, a new mode of existence? This is one of the most crucial questions, since it is also about how to escape both colonialism and ethnocentrism (Hui, 2017b: 7).
KeywordsComparative metaphysicsTechnoecological conditionCyberneticsTranshumanismTechnodiversity